First Impressions

Softshell fabrics have really taken off in the past couple of years and manufacturers now use them for all types of apparel, not just jackets and other top layers. I’ve seen more and more pants made of softshell fabrics (along with a few waders) and recently decided to give a pair a try for travel, fishing and hiking. Not wanting to break the bank, I opted for an L.L.Bean model, the Overland Guide Pant.

My initial order was for the cinder color (a light khaki), and I must tell you, I was not impressed. The fabric was slick and, sorry to say, cheap looking. Still wanting to give the product a fair shake, I returned them for a dark taupe (deep woods green) which was a much better choice.


The Overland Guide Pants are packed with features I’ve not found on other pants. I opted for a version without zip off legs (which is now available, although not in the softshell fabric). The pants have two sets of front pockets, one microfleece lined in front, and the other underneath is deeper and zippered. There are two zippered pockets on the thigh and large patch pockets on the rear, of course. The waistband is also microfleece lined. And the cuffs are reinforced at the inner ankle.

I worn these pants on international flights, hiking and fishing over the past several months. Breathability is good. The fabric, regardless of color choice, remains the same slick stretch nylon, and you get that tell-tale rustle when walking. But it’s completely waterproof. I’ve waded into trout streams up to my knees in the Overland Guide Pants and emerged completely dry, amazing my son in the process.


The Overland Guide Pants are true to size. One of the things I appreciate about L.L.Bean is there sizing. They offer every waist size and multiple lengths making it easy to get the right fit.

Final Verdict

There’s a lot to like about the Overland Guide Pant. There’s also a number of things to criticize. I dig the pockets, especially those zippered ones on the front thigh. However, the fleece-lined pockets are not nearly deep enough. The waterproof fabric delivers great durability, but is too slick for my taste. Looks like L.L. Bean has moved to a more traditional nylon for their latest iteration which may solve that issue. Overall, I like these pants but find them hard to recommend too highly.

The Overland Guide Pants are available online at L.L.Bean.

First Impressions:
[Rating:2.5/5] Features:
[Rating:3.5/5] Fit:
[Rating:4/5] Final Verdict:

Thanks for reading another outdoor gear review from GearGuide. Written by Matt K.